Larry Smith

Larry Smith Poems

We work for hours
at my son’s house
trimming grass, pulling weeds.
The thistle are taller

What we came for, and what arrives.

My grandson and I walk out the pier
all the way to the lighthouse,

for Zoe Miranda and Alyssa Ann

As I gaze into the faces
of our new granddaughters

My wife agrees to babysit overnight
our new granddaughter—Zoe Miranda.
“They need some time alone, ” she says,
and I think aloud “And so do we.”


I park before the old hardware store
stare into the darkness.


We sit near the window whiling the hours
out of the day, till she tells us, “I want to

A Story of War
Larry Smith

My grandson and I visit the history museum.

Driving to a poetry read at night
through Ohio’s frosted fields
we talk our way there
past the dark prison in Mansfield

Fresh snow on the ground
beneath the bird feeders
tilting in the wind
soft light before dawn.

Larry Smith Biography

Larry Smith is a poet, biographer, memoirist, critic, editor, and professor emeritus of English at Bowling Green State University's Firelands College. He directs Bottom Dog Press and Bird Dog Publishing. Originally from the industrial Ohio River Valley, he and his wife Ann now live along the shores of Lake Erie. Recent title: The Kanshi Poems of Taigu Ryokan, translated by Smith and Mei Hui Liu Huang)

The Best Poem Of Larry Smith

Pulling Wild Thistle

We work for hours
at my son’s house
trimming grass, pulling weeds.
The thistle are taller
than my grandsons
running about the yard
raking leaves, chasing our dog,
bringing us drinks.

Sharp thorns cut
through my gloves,
yet I grip their green stems
near the white roots
and tug them out
one by one.
The boys stand back
as I lay them straight
like fallen troops
drying in noonday sun.

Was it kindness or neglect
that allowed their growth?
Am I destroyer or savior
killing what’s wild
in the name of order?
The palms of my hands
will sting with my deeds
for hours.

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